I. Stephen Brown, DDS
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Archive for August, 2020

Can I Afford Dental Implants?

Sunday, August 30th, 2020

It might be hard to believe, but the oral health situation in this country still isn’t where it needs to be. So many people struggle with their oral health, which leads to things like tooth decay, cavities, and oral diseases.

There are plenty of theories as to why people don’t visit the dentist as often as they should, from an underlying fear to having a bad experience as a child. But, not regularly getting your teeth looked at by a professional and having an oral examination can lead to unfortunate consequences.

As a dental practice, we believe that every patient should keep as many of their original teeth as possible. Unfortunately, things don’t always work that way. Whether you have lost teeth to decay, or you have teeth that are broken and need to be extracted, losing your teeth isn’t exactly a pleasant thing to life with.

But, dental implants can help.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are often the best option for patients with missing teeth. They are specifically meant to work with the existing bone tissue in your mouth to form a strong and sturdy “root”. This base acts as a platform for a dental crown, which will make your teeth look flawless.

Because dental implants are available in different sizes and even different configurations, they are extremely customizable and meant to fit almost anyone.

What Treatment Options Are Available Using Dental Implants?

Because dental implants can be used in a variety of ways, there are different types of implants, as well as different techniques to consider. Some of the most common include:

  • Implant-Supported Dentures: This is a fairly straightforward process in which traditional dentures are either supported by or attached to dental implants that are in the jaw bone. The dentures sit on top of the implants to give you the look of real teeth.
  • All On 4: This is an alternative solution for a full arch. Instead, four implants are placed within your own available bone. After following a modified diet for about six months so the gum tissue has a chance to heal and grow around the implants, permanent replacement teeth will be added, and you can resume your normal activities. This particular procedure eliminates the need for bone grafting.
  • Teeth in a Day: This process essentially streamlines implant-supported dentures. Rather than placing implants in the mouth, patients are fitted with either a fully-removable denture. It’s likely that the dentures will need to be adjusted a few times as you wait for a permanent denture, but this option makes it possible to have “teeth” right away without having to wait months.

If you’re not sure which of these options is right for you or you have questions about how they work, talking to Dr. I Stephen Brown or a team member at The Perio Group can help you to get the answers you need.

What is the Cost of Dental Implants?

There is no concrete number when it comes to the cost of dental implants. They are a very specific and customizable process for everyone, and the overall cost is impacted by everything from the number of implants you might require, to any additional procedures that may be necessary along the way.

With that being said, it’s important to look at dental implants as an investment, rather than something you’re paying for as a “quick fix” for your teeth. They are a long-term solution that will impact and improve your smile and oral health for years to come. Unlike options like crowns and bridges, dental implants can last forever.

So, it is important to compare the cost with other methods to determine the right option for you. Caps, crowns, and bridges will need to be replaced every 5-7 years, while implants are typically meant to last a lifetime. Dental implants also are less likely to cause any future dental problems, while other methods can sometimes increase your risk of decay or gum problems.

You will only be able to determine your actual cost of dental implants by sitting down for a consultation. At our practice, Dr. Brown is always happy to talk with patients about the benefits of dental implants and whether they are the best option for replacing your teeth. Again, keep in mind that all dentists want patients to keep as many of their own teeth as possible. But, if your current teeth are in bad shape or you’re missing some, short-term solutions like caps and crowns may not be your best solution.

So, you have to be the one to decide if you’re ready to invest in yourself and your oral health.

Making An Investment in Your Oral Health

What does that mean, exactly? Essentially, it means determining what you think your smile is worth. It means weighing out the benefits of dental implants and understanding how they will impact your life on a long-term basis.

Some of those important benefits include:

  • They feel, look, and fit like natural teeth, so there is no discomfort or irritation
  • They are made to last a lifetime
  • You can regain your confidence if you’ve been struggling with your smile for a long time
  • They can prevent bone loss and actually stimulate new bone growth

So, to answer the major question; can you afford dental implants? The answer should be a resounding ‘yes’. Though implants are an investment and may have a high price tag upfront, comparing them to the overall cost of other options makes it easy to realize that they are often the best solution. You won’t have to have extra work done on them or have them replaced every few years. So, a one-time investment can allow you years of a brilliant, beautiful smile.

If you’re interested in dental implants or any other options for tooth repair or replacement, feel free to contact us for more information. Our team will be happy to answer your questions or set up a consultation for you.

Tips for Managing Gum Inflammation

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

If your gums are tender or swollen, you may have gum inflammation. Gum inflammation is caused when plaque builds up along your gums and even under them. If you have blood on your toothbrush or appear when you eat hard foods like apples, you might have gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early-stage gum disease that causes inflammation and may lead to periodontal disease, a more advanced gum disease. Periodontal disease begins with inflamed gums but can cause bad breath, gaps between teeth and gums, and even loose or missing teeth. Here’s how to prevent gum inflammation and keep your mouth healthy.

Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day

Brushing your teeth after breakfast in the morning and when going to bed at night will help remove plaque and reduce gum inflammation. Brushing keeps the bacteria in plaque from attacking your gums, which is why brushing after eating is recommended for eliminating both residual plaque and any food debris. You should brush for 2 minutes for each session, using a soft-bristled brush. Avoid brushing your teeth too harshly, as this can make your gums sore.

If you are using an electric toothbrush, make sure you change the head every three-four months and replace regular toothbrushes after the same amount of time. When brushing your teeth, remember to brush behind your front and back teeth, without scrubbing too harshly along the gum line. Brush the top, front, and rear of your teeth, as well as your gums and tongue, in a circular motion to cover all areas of the mouth.

Make Sure You Floss

Dental floss is the best way to get between your teeth and remove the build-up of plaque that could cause bacteria to gather and lead to inflamed gums. Flossing once a day will help keep your gums healthy. Flossing after brushing will help clear up anything that your regular brushing might have missed.

If you’ve got bridges or existing dental work that makes flossing uncomfortable, try using water flossers. Water flossers send bursts of water out that can wash out plaque from between your teeth. Dental picks are suitable for hard to reach areas. However, plaque or dental scraping should always be done by a trained Periodontist like Dr. I. Stephen Brown to avoid damaging your gums.

Visit Your Periodontist

Visiting The Perio Group for regular check-ups, dental scrapings, or advice on gum disease is the best way to prevent gum inflammation. Over time, plaque can build-up into a hard coating on your teeth called tartar, which can only be removed by a dental scraping from your periodontist. Tartar can accumulate below the gums and cause irritation, inflammation, and, eventually, periodontal disease.

For more advanced gum disease treatments, Dr. Brown is considered a pioneer in treating with non-surgical techniques. Using laser gum treatment, The Perio Group can safely target the plaque or tartar, removing them from along and underneath the gum line to restore your gums to a healthy and uninflamed state. The procedure is known as Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) and is the perfect way to treat advanced gum disease without more invasive techniques or a scalpel.

Eat More Vitamin C, D, And Calcium

Vitamin C helps fight periodontal disease by boosting the immune system and enhancing its ability to fight infection. Consuming either vitamin C supplements or taking it from fruit like oranges or lemons will have the same effect of reducing bleeding gums and keeping them in a healthy state.

Recent studies suggest that vitamin D plays a massive role in periodontal care, from maintaining healthy gums and reducing inflammation to helping the mouth heal after periodontal treatments. There is also 2020 research showing that vitamin D reduces the number of oral bacteria that directly cause gum disease. Vitamin D is found in mushrooms, fish like tuna or anchovies, and other seafood like shrimp or oysters. Spending time in sunlight will also boost your vitamin D levels.

Calcium not only boosts the health of your teeth and gums, with studies supporting reduced gum disease for those regularly consuming calcium. Calcium is found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products, leafy greens like kale or spinach, and bread.

Make Healthier Lifestyle Choices

Quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol and excess sugar can help reduce the impact of gum inflammation. Smoking weakens your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight gum disease and more difficult for your gums to recover from gingivitis or damage. According to the CDC, smoking doubles the risk of gum disease.

Alcohol dehydrates the mouth, leading to an increased risk of gum disease. Alcohol also increases the concentration of harmful bacteria in the mouth, leading to gum inflammation. Non Drinkers have a better mix of bacteria (and more ‘good’ bacteria), which is considered healthier for your gums.

High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels to constrict and become damaged, reducing blood flow to different parts of the body. This can affect your gums in the same way, limiting the amount of oxygen and nutrients that meet the gums and making them more prone to gum disease and other infections. That’s why individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of gum disease.

Other Treatments For Advanced Gum Disease

Dr. Brown offers many treatments to combat periodontal disease. We’ve already spoken about LANAP and laser treatments, but The Perio Group also offers gum regeneration treatment, promoting the body to produce healthy tissue. We will safely remove any bacteria causing the disease, then use tissue-promoting proteins or bone grafts to encourage your gums’ healthy regeneration. This will reduce the depth of the pockets between your gums and teeth, reducing the recurrence of bacteria alongside an excellent oral hygiene regime.

Dr. Brown and The Perio Group are on hand for advice on the right oral hygiene procedures to reduce gum inflammation and advancement into periodontal disease. If you have a more advanced condition, we can still treat these with a range of surgical and non-surgical treatments to restore your gums’ health. Contact us today to find out how Dr. Brown and The Perio Group can keep your gums healthy.